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G.R. No.

178096 March 23, 2011 Respondents further argued that the basis of petitioner’s Transfer
ROSA DELOS REYES, Petitioner, vs. Certificate of Title (TCT), which is a Deed of Absolute Sale dated April
SPOUSES FRANCISCO ODONES and ARWENIA ODONES, NOEMI 18, 1972,11 was a forgery because the purported vendors therein,
OTALES, and GREGORIO RAMIREZ, Respondents. Donata Lardizabal and Francisco Razalan, died on June 30, 192612
and June 5, 1971,13 respectively. Incidentally, the said TCT and
DECISION Deed of Absolute Sale are the subject of a pending case for
annulment of title before the RTC, Branch 68, Camiling, Tarlac.14
NACHURA, J.:
In a decision dated March 28, 2006, the MTC ruled in favor of
This petition for certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court seeks petitioner, and ordered respondents to vacate the property and to
the reversal of the February 19, 2007 Decision1 and the May 22, pay rent for the use and occupation of the same, plus attorney's
2007 Resolution2 of the Court of Appeals (CA), affirming the June fees.
20, 2006 decision3 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 68,
Camiling, Tarlac, which in turn set aside the March 28, 2006 Respondents appealed15 to the RTC, arguing that since the
decision4 of the Municipal Trial complaint failed to allege how respondents entered the property or
when they erected their houses thereon, it is an improper action for
Court (MTC) of Camiling, Tarlac, in a complaint for unlawful unlawful detainer, and the MTC had no jurisdiction over the
detainer, disposed as follows: same.16

WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the plaintiff In its June 20, 2006 decision,17 the RTC set aside the MTC’s
and against defendants, ordering defendants, spouses Arwenia judgment and dismissed the complaint. The RTC held that the
Odones and Francisco Odones, their heirs and assigns and all complaint failed to aver acts constitutive of forcible entry or
persons acting in their behalves to vacate the premises and to unlawful detainer since it did not state how entry was effected or
surrender possession thereof to the plaintiff. Defendants are how and when the dispossession started. Hence, the remedy should
likewise ordered to pay One Thousand (₱1,000.00) Pesos as either be accion publiciana or accion reivindicatoria in the proper
reasonable compensation for the use of the land and Attorney’s fees RTC.
in the amount of Five Thousand (₱5,000.00) Pesos.
Aggrieved, petitioner sought recourse with the CA, asseverating that
SO ORDERED.5 the RTC misappreciated the allegations in the complaint and that
respondents were estopped from assailing the MTC’s jurisdiction
The Facts because they did not raise such issue in the proceedings before that
court. Petitioner insisted that, as the registered owner of the lot, she
This case emanated from a complaint for Unlawful Detainer with has a preferential right of possession over it.18
Preliminary Injunction6 filed by petitioner Rosa delos Reyes
(petitioner) against respondents spouses Arwenia and Francisco On February 19, 2007, the CA affirmed the judgment of the RTC,
Odones, Noemi Otales, and Gregorio Ramirez (respondents) before adding that, as pronounced in Go, Jr. v. Court of Appeals,19 in order
the MTC of Camiling, Tarlac, on July 12, 2005. The complaint alleged to justify an action for unlawful detainer, the owner’s permission or
these material facts: tolerance must be present at the beginning of the possession.20
Petitioner moved for reconsideration,21 but the motion was denied
3. That [petitioner] is the owner of a parcel of land covered x x x by in a Resolution dated May 22, 2007.22 Hence, the instant petition23
Transfer Certificate of Title No. 392430, of the Land Records for the ascribing the following errors to the CA:
Province of Tarlac, located at Pao, Camiling, Tarlac, x x x.
THE HON. COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN APPLYING THE CASE OF GO,
4. That even before the document upon which the title was based, JR. v. COURT OF APPEALS.
[petitioner] has long been the owner thereof;
THE HON. COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE HON.
5. That [respondents] are staying on the said property with a MUNICIPAL TRIAL COURT OF CAMILING, TARLAC NEVER ACQUIRED
house/improvements therein, with the mere tolerance of JURISDICTION OVER THE CASE.
[petitioner] only without any contract whatsoever and for which
there is an implied understanding to vacate upon the demand; THE HON. COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT HOLDING THAT THE
RESPONDENTS ARE ALREADY ESTOPPED FROM RAISING THE ISSUE
6. That [petitioner] previously demanded verbally upon OF JURISDICTION.
[respondents] to vacate which they refused and for which a written
notice was sent advising them to vacate the said property within THE HON. COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT APPLYING THE
fifteen (15) days from receipt of the letter to vacate x x x. PRINCIPLE OF STARE DECISIS.24

7. That the said letter was sent by registered mail on June 17, 2005, The petition is meritorious.
which was duly received x x x.7
Well-settled is the rule that what determines the nature of the
In their Answer with Counterclaim,8 respondents claimed that they action, as well as the court which has jurisdiction over the case, are
are the owners of the lot, having purchased the same by virtue of the allegations in the complaint. In ejectment cases, the complaint
an Extrajudicial Succession of Estate and Sale9 dated January 29, should embody such statement of facts as to bring the party clearly
2004, executed by the heirs of Donata Lardizabal, the land’s original within the class of cases for which the statutes provide a remedy, as
owner. Respondents denied that their occupancy of the property these proceedings are summary in nature. The complaint must
was by virtue of petitioner’s tolerance.10 show enough on its face to give the court jurisdiction without resort
to parol evidence.25
Unlawful detainer is an action to recover possession of real property In Go, there was evidence that the possession by the defendant was
from one who illegally withholds possession after the expiration or illegal at the inception and not merely tolerated as alleged in the
termination of his right to hold possession under any contract, complaint. No such similar finding is extant in this case. Further, one
express or implied. The possession by the defendant in unlawful of the factual issues raised in Go was whether the action was filed
detainer is originally legal but became illegal due to the expiration within one (1) year from the date the last demand was made. Here,
or termination of the right to possess.26 The proceeding is summary it is beyond dispute that the complaint for unlawful detainer was
in nature, jurisdiction over which lies with the proper MTC or filed within one (1) year from the date the demand letter was sent
metropolitan trial court. The action must be brought up within one on June 17, 2005.
year from the date of last demand, and the issue in the case must
be the right to physical possession.27 Based on the foregoing, the MTC validly acquired jurisdiction over
the complaint and we agree with its conclusion that petitioner is
A complaint sufficiently alleges a cause of action for unlawful entitled to the physical possession of the lot, she having been able
detainer if it recites the following: to prove by preponderance of evidence, through the TCT registered
in her name, that she is entitled to possession of the property as
1. initially, possession of property by the defendant was by contract owner. The countervailing evidence presented by respondents that
with or by tolerance of the plaintiff; sought to dispute the authenticity of petitioner’s TCT cannot be
given weight in this case. Settled is the rule that the validity of a
2. eventually, such possession became illegal upon notice by plaintiff certificate of title cannot be attacked in an action for ejectment.32
to defendant of the termination of the latter's right of possession;
This notwithstanding, the determination made herein as regards
3. thereafter, the defendant remained in possession of the property petitioner’s ownership of the lot by virtue of TCT No. 392430 is only
and deprived the plaintiff of the enjoyment thereof; and prima facie and only for purposes of resolving the issue of physical
possession. These pronouncements are without prejudice to the
4. within one year from the last demand on defendant to vacate the case of annulment of the deed of sale and TCT filed by respondents
property, the plaintiff instituted the complaint for ejectment.28 against petitioner.33 Lastly, these pronouncements are not binding
on respondents Noemi Otales and Gregorio Ramirez over whose
Contrary to the findings of the RTC and the CA, petitioner’s persons no jurisdiction was acquired by the MTC.34
allegations in the complaint clearly makes out a case for unlawful
detainer, essential to confer jurisdiction over the subject matter on WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The February 19, 2007
the MTC. Petitioner alleges that she is the owner of the lot, as shown Decision and the May 22, 2007 Resolution of the Court of Appeals
by TCT No. 392430, issued by the Registry of Deeds of Tarlac; that are hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The March 28, 2006 decision
respondents are occupying the lot by virtue of petitioner’s of the Municipal Trial Court of Camiling, Tarlac, is REINSTATED and
tolerance; and that petitioner sent a letter to respondents on June AFFIRMED.
17, 2005, demanding that they vacate the property, but they failed
and refused to do so. The complaint was filed on July 12, 2005, or SO ORDERED.
within one year from the time the last demand to vacate was made.
ANTONIO EDUARDO B. NACHURA
Firm is the rule that as long as these allegations demonstrate a cause Associate Justice
of action for unlawful detainer, the court acquires jurisdiction over
the subject matter.

The CA misapplied the ruling in Go29 that tolerance must be present


right from the start of possession, which possession is sought to be
recovered. The CA, in affirming the RTC, likewise erroneously
applied the rule that jurisdictional facts must appear on the face of
the complaint for ejectment, such that when the complaint fails to
faithfully aver facts constitutive of unlawful detainer, as where it
does not state when and how entry was effected, or how and when
dispossession started, the remedy should either be accion
publiciana or accion reivindicatoria in the proper RTC.

The requirement that the complaint should aver, as jurisdictional


facts, when and how entry into the property was made by the
defendants applies only when the issue is the timeliness of the filing
of the complaint before the MTC, and not when the jurisdiction of
the MTC is assailed because the case is one for accion publiciana
cognizable by the RTC.30 This is because, in forcible entry cases, the
prescriptive period is counted from the date of defendants’ actual
entry into the property; whereas, in unlawful detainer cases, it is
counted from the date of the last demand to vacate. Hence, to
determine whether the case was filed on time, there is a necessity
to ascertain whether the complaint is one for forcible entry or for
unlawful detainer; and since the main distinction between the two
actions is when and how defendant entered the property, the
determinative facts should be alleged in the complaint.311avvphi1